Monday, November 12, 2012

Get Smart about Antibiotics Week

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By Nurse Diane

During the first 2 years of my son's life he was always in the doctor's office with ear infections.  This is because the infant’s Eustachian tube is short, and easy for bacteria to crawl inside.  Some parents choose to use ear tubes for their children, however, not knowing what the long term effects would be, I decided against them.  Each time we went to the doctor, he would prescribe either Ceclor or Amoxil.  The reason for the swap was to prevent his body from becoming resistant to the effects of the drug.  Had his doctor only prescribed Ceclor each time, after a while, it would no longer work to kill the infection.

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This same reasoning applies to anyone who may over use antibiotics.  If you take an antibiotic frequently, it loses its power.  Some drugs are used so routinely, that the bugs have changed to "superbugs" and finding a way to destroy them has become more and more difficult.  There are a few guidelines when taking antibiotics.  They include:
  • Take all of your prescription, even if you are feeling better.
  • Only take prescriptions prescribed for you by your physician
  • Don't hold on to any unused prescription to use for a later date.

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This week is Get Smart about Antibiotics Week.  Benjamin Franklin once said that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The same holds true today.  The first antibiotic, Penicillin, was accidentally discovered in 1920; however was not put into use until 1940.  Since that time hundreds of antibiotics have been developed, and many have been overused.  Taking some of these antibiotics have also even caused problems from their side effects.

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This week, during the cold and flu season, get smart about what drugs you take.  Use one doctor to prescribe for you, and if you see other doctors, be sure to let them know what drugs you have taken.   There is an old saying that a cold will get better in 7 days if you treat it, and will get better in a week if you don't.  If you feel the symptoms of a cold or sinus infection, try a little patience before starting off with antibiotics.  Try hot showers and warm tea and increase your vitamin C if permitted by your doctor.  Save the use of antibiotics as a last resort, so when you really need it, they will be there working in your body.

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